After years of competition and rivalry it appears Cats and Dogs really do have some common ground when it comes to the way they like to lap their drinks. Scientists have been studying how both cats and dogs lap, as at first it was thought they had very different techniques. The cat has always been seen as the more elegant lapper whilst the dog is seen to have a messy more uncontrolled lap. It seems they both use a balance of inertia and gravity to draw the liquids into their mouths.
To start the investigation they studied the lead author Roman Stocker’s (from the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Cat and filmed her as she drank, with high-speed cameras so they could view it in slow-motion afterwards. They found out that when she drank her tongue would touch the water and the liquid would get stuck to it. As she moved her tongue back into her mouth it created a water column that continued to move the water back into her mouth. When the water column was full she would then shut her mouth and capture the liquid.
It was thought the dogs would be messy drinkers with little control for where the water spilled. This time is was scientist Professor Alfred Crompton’s (from Harvard University) Dogs’ turn to be filmed. When they first started analysing they thought the dogs were scooping water into their mouths but as investigations continued it appeared that any water caught in her scooped tongue actually dropped out before reaching her mouth. Just like the cat, she was actually creating a water column on the back of her tongue with the water attached to it. When the water was falling out of her mouth she would shut her mouth in the same way the cat did.
The scientists concluded the only differences was that cats would not break the surface of the water when they drank whilst dogs placed their tongues deep into the water which is probably why they are so much more messy! It’s nice to see these two species have something in common after all!